Kanda Buwana, a.k.a. Professor Matthew Isaac Cohen, is an American shadow puppeteer, educator and scholar who performs traditional and contemporary wayang kulit. His stage name Kanda Buwana (He Who Tells Stories of the World) was given to him in 2009 by Sultan Abdul Gani of the royal court of Kacirebonan in Cirebon, West Java, Indonesia. He also received a royal title from the sultan, Kyai Ngabehi, roughly the equivalent of a knighthood, for services rendered to puppetry and traditional culture. A further royal name was given in 2018 by Sultan Arief Natadiningrat of the royal court of Kasepuhan for advancing and preserving Cirebon-style shadow puppetry: Ki Dalang Bawana (Honourable Puppeteer of the World).
Kanda Buwana has performed wayang kulit in English and Javanese with gamelan groups in Southeast Asia, Europe and North America. The company is available to perform with gamelan anywhere in the world, and is also prepared to offer contemporary solo performances, lecture-demonstrations and workshops.
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